Sarah Langan: a new voice in horror fiction

Sarah Langan is a Master’s student in Environmental Health Science/Toxicology at New York University. She is also a horror fiction authoralthough to simply call her fiction horror would be an injustice, and would ignore her other influences like “Russell Banks, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, Shirley Jackson, Stephen King, Kelly Link, Somerset Maugham, Lorrie Moore, Joyce Carol Oates” and others.Langan’s debut novel, The Keeper, was published in 2006, with a generous blurb from horror-meister Peter Straub adorning the cover. The inhabitants of Bedford, Maine are trying to deal with one of their own, Susan Marley, a beautiful woman who roams the town without speaking. Langan shows the conflicted relationships between Susan and the people whose lives she touches, and when the narrative finally reveals the horror at its core, it is in poetic and graphic detail. The Keeper was followed by a sequel, The Missing, which followed a deadly virus released by the effects of the first novel. The Missing was also well-received (and allowed Langan to draw from some of her Toxicology studies).Langan’s third novel, Audrey’s Door, updates the traditional haunted house story as a single, tormented young woman finds a gorgeous apartment in New York with a price that seems too good to be true. Unsurprisingly, it is. Some reviewers have commented on the disjointed nature of this book, but it’s still worth a look for fans of modern horror.Langan doesn’t just restrict herself to long fiction. Her short stories have been featured in anthologies like The Living Dead 2 (a zombie fiction collection), Hellbound Hearts (a collection set in Clive Barker’s Hellraiser universe), and Brave New Worlds (a collection of dystopian sci-fi/horror stories). She also contributed an audio play to the Tales From Beyond The Pale series, and essays to the anthologies Thrillers: 100 Must Reads (on Robert Louis Stevenson) and Cinema Futura (on a favorite sci-fi film, Donnie Darko).It should be obvious by now that Langan draws from a wide range of influences in composing her fiction. If you’re growing tired of predictable, clichd horror stories, why not give her a look? All of her novels are readily available from online retailers like Amazon.com, as are most of the anthologies in which she’s featured. That Cinema Futura collection, on the other hand, will most likely be reserved for serious collectorswhen I checked, Amazon had only one copy for 45.